Monday, April 30, 2012
We Give The Voyeurs Something To Look At.
I wanted to do all my rehab by myself, on my beater, in and around the streets of Thornbury. I had visions of fifteen / twenty / thirty minute rides spent wandering through the lanes, around the industrial estates, along the bike paths, taking photos of backyards, factories, and abandoned buildings. I'd listen to Fugazi through shitty headphones and it would be sunny and I'd be getting to know my neighbourhood. As my rehab progressed I'd take out the road bike, get on the ergo, do some pilates, even race some late-season road. It was a good plan, but also a shy one. I didn't want to head back to the track until I was good to go again. I didn't want my love of the track to be sullied by being unfit and no good at it.
But a friend of mine had seen the Madison at the Trackworlds, and wanted to know how to do it. So I volunteered to show her. She didn't have a track bike, so I made some calls, sauntered into DISC one afternoon, chatted to some folks, and all of a sudden had one of the club Hillbricks in the back of my car. There's that trust again.
She'd never raced track before, so we started off at HSV, just rolling turns, then riding side by side, then bumping each other a bit. She didn't batt an eye - in fact, quite the opposite was true. She was stoked, and her enthusiasm was infectuous. We jumped off for a bit, walked through the slinging process, and before long I was trying to throw her into the Merri Creek. I came into the changes at a stroll, at half pace, at full pace, occasionally a little too hot. She didn't skip a beat. Sure, it's easy to change when there's no traffic around, but I've missed easier changes, freaked out when the speed difference is too great, worried about crashing. She had none of that. She was new to it, so sometimes her bike could've been a little closer to mine, and her hand could've been in a slightly better spot, but I was pretty impressed.
Eventually we pulled up to the stands. I was a bit spent, and I was getting sloppy. We kicked off our shoes and stole a couple of ginger beers from the kiosk. I knew she'd gone well, that she was ready to race, and that with a bit of experience in traffic she'd be fine. But I didn't know if she'd had fun - going around and around in circles can, even I admit, be a little dull sometimes. But she was stoked. She wanted to go again. And she wanted to race. I told her that there's a Women's Madison in Ballarat in February, and the first ever Bendigo Women's Madison in March. And that if she worked hard at it, she'd be ready.
Tonight we're heading down to the track again. It's probably the third or fourth time. I'm not racing, of course, but I'm going to do my 45 minutes beforehand, rolling around above the blue. As I said earlier, I wasn't going to do any of my rehab at the track, but I'd forgotten how much I love it. I mean, I've written a lot lately about how I love the community, and the things that surround the racing, but I haven't thought about how much I love being out there on the track, throwing my bike around, spinning for the win, finding the smoothest, shortest, fastest lines. But rolling around with my friend, watching her realize that she's actually pretty good at it - and then, following immediately from that, watching the seeds of ambition take root within her and begin to grow - well, that resonated with me. I'm in a similar position to her right now, except for me it's not about realizing, it's about remembering. Remembering that I can do what it takes to get back to where I was. Remembering the things that I wanted to achieve. Remembering that I love riding my bike around in circles, and that it doesn't matter how bad you are when you come back. Or when you start. It's what you do with what you have that matters. And she reminded me of that.